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Commander of armed group issues death threats against six journalists over coverage

(CEHURDES/IFEX) - A military commander named Prabhu, member of the armed group that goes by the name of Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM-Jwala Singh faction), issued a "threat to take physical action" against six journalists based in southern Rautahat district.

Prabhu accused the journalists of having broadcast news on the FM station Radio Birgunj, in which it was stated that five villagers had been displaced due to a threat by JTMM commander Khaheru Dewan.

Prabhu threatened to kill the journalists unless the news is "refuted" on the same station within a week.

The journalists to whom the threat was directed are: Shiva Puri of "Kantipur Daily", Sanjaya Karki of "Nepal Samacharpatra" daily, Fani Mahat of Radio Birgunj and Ashok Pahadi of "Terai Express" weekly, as well as Ratna Adhikari and Bipin Gautam, human rights workers.

Meanwhile, Dipendra Chauhan, the news chief of Radio Birgunj, has said no such news was broadcast on the station.

The threats were issued in the context of ongoing unrest in the south-eastern plains region of the country, where various armed groups are actively demanding autonomy, and where threats against journalists have become commonplace.

CEHURDES condemns all attempts to subdue journalists through threats and attacks. CEHURDES is deeply worried that the continued targeting of media will undermine press freedom and freedom of expression in Nepal.

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